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Bois Locker Room: Society and family are part of the solution to protect and safeguard women from predators and not the problem

Only an empowered cultured society and families will be capable of mitigating the dangers of modernity. Therefore, the solution is not to undermine such institutions but orient them towards a direction where it is incumbent upon them to take a more proactive role in the protection of women and children.

Over the course of the past few days, a chain of events has been set in motion that has led to the suicide of a student of Class 12 in Gurugram. The circumstances of his suicide are still unclear as and therefore, we shall not engage in insensitive speculation regarding his death. One thing is however clear, the ‘Bois Locker Room’ did have individuals who are deeply troubled, to put it mildly and might need some time in juvenile homes for proper rehabilitation. Having said that, there are other pertinent issues regarding the whole affair that needs to be discussed honestly and with an open mind.

First things first, discussing ways to rape girls on social media platforms is not normal. The existence of such a ‘locker room’ only proves that such conduct is not tolerated in any sane society. That the involved individuals had to engage in such perverse discussion in private indicates that society does not have a very high tolerance level for such atrocious behaviour. Therefore, as horrific as the discussions were in themselves, we must not lose sight of the fact that it is a deviance and not the norm. A lot of inappropriate humour does flood male only spaces, as I am sure is the case in female only spaces, but overwhelmingly, the nature of humour involved is harmless and not capable of causing permanent damage to anyone. In this particular instance, however, the discussion was definitely not humour and was perverse beyond measure.

It is important that we remember the unique set of circumstances before us. Because society and social norms themselves are often held guilty for such crimes whenever they happen. But in reality, such crimes happen despite social norms and not because of them. Indian society does not approve of such conduct, by and large, and men who indulge in such violent delusions are neither encouraged nor tolerated in their midst. The collective outrage and unequivocal condemnation of the incident by all sections of society is indicative enough of that. Therefore, the solution to the menace is not undermining social institutions themselves but empowering them to deal with such conduct effectively.

There is another uncomfortable truth that needs to be discussed in this context. Overwhelmingly, the individuals who engage in such discussions are men. And it is a well known fact that the overwhelming percentage of violent crimes are committed by men. This is not due to social norms or how men are raised but due to the fact that men are biologically predisposed towards committing more violence than women. The greater physical strength of men also makes them more likely to use it in order to acquire what they seek. Thus, the greater threat of violence always comes from men. It is the same reason why the discussion between the young boys is infinitely more disturbing than the disgusting discussion among girls the same age in the ‘girls locker room’. Because the threat of thoughts transforming into real action is infinitely more real in the case of men.

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Historically too, wars have been fought over women. It is true, however, that not all cultures are the same and such conduct is expressly prohibited in Hindu religion. Nevertheless, raping the women of the enemy side was extremely common throughout history. Even as late as the Second World War, German women were raped en masse by Allied Forces after Adolf Hitler was defeated. Even in the 1971 Indo-Pak War, hundreds and thousands of Bengali Hindu women were raped by Pakistani Soldiers. And even in wars since then, rapes have unfortunately been a prominent feature of them. Would these men have raped the women if they were ‘one of their own’? It is hard to tell but without a shadow of doubt, it can be said safely that the women were raped because they were seen as the ‘other’. Wars reflect circumstances when all social norms collapse and the victor gets to do as he pleases, which causes the gravest of human rights violations. Thus, quite evidently, undermining social norms may not be the most sensible way forward if we are to ensure the safety of the feminine gender.

Thus, it is important to realise that civilisation is a process and not the end. And one of the unintended consequences of civilisation is the domestication of Man. In the wild, or in times of War, the beastly nature of Man comes forward and he engages in behaviour that he normally wouldn’t in civilised society. And hence, it is of paramount significance that incidents such as the Boys Locker Room do not undermine our faith in society but strengthens it. It is individuals who have massively failed society in this instance, not empowered them. It is only now that their conduct has been exposed to the world that they will suffer the consequences.

It is true that society is not always in the right and tends to put curbs on individual behaviour but it remains the only medium through which the safety of women and children can be assured. There is true evil in this world and against the might of their forces, only the collective can mount an adequate defence and deploy sufficient safeguards. The most important institution in this regard is that of the Family. Only families are at a position where they can identify such mongrels at an early stage of their deterioration and take effective measures to prevent them from crossing the red line. True reformation can only be inspired by the family. An insane amount of problems could have been avoided had the families in question been more involved in the affairs of their children. And this is true for both genders, the boys and the girls.

Only an empowered cultured society and families will be capable of mitigating the dangers of modernity. Therefore, the solution is not to undermine such institutions but orient them towards a direction where it is incumbent upon them to take a more proactive role in the protection of women and children. In that regard, we have made good progress over the years. However, much more remains to be done. It is also important to note that the ‘Boys locker room’ occurred because society and families still haven’t learned yet how to react and deal with the great threat social media platforms pose to women and children.

Another aspect of nature that solidifies my belief is the fact that rape is extremely common in the animal world. It is philosophically debatable whether animals are capable of rape given the fact that ‘will’ and ‘consent’ are generally presumed to be unique capabilities only mankind is capable of. However, if we limit the definition to forced sexual interaction alone, it is not hard to find such occurrences in abundance in the animal kingdom.

I suffer from no delusions that rapes or sex crimes will ever disappear from the face of the Earth. They won’t and they will not cease to occur as long the human race exists. As long as humans exist, so will crimes. Heaven and Hell do exist and we can find both here on Earth itself. Thus, under such circumstances, it is easy to give in to despair in times such as the age we are living in. However, unlike certain sections of the population, I do believe that the institutions of family and society are parts of the solution and not the problem.

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K Bhattacharjee
Black Coffee Enthusiast. Post Graduate in Psychology. Bengali.

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